N. Peter Kramer ’s Weekly Column
On a flight from Beijing to Guangzhou last week, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that the European Union should avoid becoming a ‘vassal’ of the United States on China, especially urging distance concerning any potential military aid to Taiwan.
‘Is it in our interest to accelerate on the subject of Taiwan? No!’, Macron said. ‘The worst thing would be to think that the EU adapts to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction’.
Macron’s remarks causing backlash both from members of the US Congress and inside Brussels and some EU memberstates, came during a state visit to China in which France deepened economic and cultural ties with Beijing.
These remarks stood in stark contrast to messages delivered by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who joined Macron for a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Before the trip, Von der Leyen said that the EU should look into diplomatic and economic ‘de-risking’ from China.
Now, the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell is expected to travel to Beijing the end of this week. To try to present a unified EU front on China policy.
Borrell will reiterate the EU’s commitment to its own so-called ‘One China’ policy but reassert the EU’s right to build ties with Taiwan within that framework. It becomes a hard job for him. But without any doubt, Beijing will understand that.